Facebook Canada and the National Arts Centre partner to bring to Canadians new livestreamed performances, events and digital experiences through #CanadaPerforms

OTTAWA (Canada) – The National Arts Centre and Facebook Canada are pleased to announce the extension of their #CanadaPerforms collaboration with a two-year partnership that will explore the future of digital engagement and livestreaming in the performing arts. This evolution of #CanadaPerforms is made possible through a $500,000 investment from Facebook Canada that will benefit artists through livestreamed performances, music events and festivals.

“From the moment the pandemic forced the closure of performance venues, festivals and major live events across Canada, we knew that the National Arts Centre needed to play a leadership role in supporting artists and the arts sector. Working with Facebook Canada,  we announced #CanadaPerforms, a platform that provided critical relief for artists who had lost their shows. We thank Facebook Canada, our #CanadaPerforms founding partner, as well as Slaight Music, the RBC Foundation and SiriusXM who all came together for this relief effort and helped us kickstart a movement that has grown beyond our expectations. And mostly, we want to thank all the artists who continue to share their talent and creativity with us online”, said Christopher Deacon, President and CEO of the National Arts Centre.

The new two-year partnership between the National Arts Centre and Facebook will see #CanadaPerforms become a national platform for artists wanting to experiment and  innovate with live-streamed performances, augmenting existing programming at the NAC. Digital platforms enable engagement, increase accessibility and foster cultural communities online from coast to coast to coast.

“#CanadaPerforms has served as an important discoverability engine for performing artists, and we never could have anticipated such a powerful response from across the Canadian cultural community, or how deeply this movement would resonate with Canadians. We look forward to further exploring the potential of online cultural expression with the National Arts Centre”, said Kevin Chan, Head of Public Policy at Facebook Canada.

#CanadaPerforms was first launched on March 19, as a short-term relief fund that pays professional Canadian artists and professionally published authors for their online performances. It was launched by the National Arts Centre and Facebook Canada to help ease the financial strain for Canadian artists impacted by the closure of performance venues across Canada related to COVID-19, and to lift the spirits of Canadians during the crisis.

Over the past two months, thanks to the generous support of additional partners,  #CanadaPerforms has grown into a $700,000 + fund, and will conclude this phase on May 31, 2020.

During this initial phase, #CanadaPerforms has received over 6,000 applications and presented 700 livestreamed performances by professional artists and authors in all genres, in both Official Languages, that were viewed by over 4.5 million people from coast to coast to coast, and around the world. #CanadaPerforms had a phenomenal journey in its two months of existence. It has inspired and shaped other livestreaming efforts and funds, and helped inspire a sister initiative in Europe, #IrelandPerforms. 


As a first step in this extended partnership between the NAC and Facebook Canada, #CanadaPerforms will embark on a journey on the “Road to Canada Day” throughout the month of June, becoming a national platform celebrating and profiling performing arts festivals from across Canada that were forced to shutter due to the pandemic.

“The positive response we received from performing artists and Canadians across the country has been overwhelming. While physical stages, venues, live audiences and performance will always be at the heart of the performing arts, it is clear that livestreaming has an ongoing role. We are excited to continue #CanadaPerforms and bring the arts into people’s homes across Canada and around the world.”, said Heather Gibson, the NAC’s Executive Producer of Popular Music and Variety, and lead programmer for #CanadaPerforms.

#CanadaPerforms will also help support online engagement as Canadians look forward to a virtual Canada Day to be led and produced by the Department of Canadian Heritage, in collaboration with partners and artists from across the country. Over the summer, #CanadaPerforms will livestream other types of live performances and events, to be announced shortly.


#CanadaPerforms was launched on March 19 by the National Arts Centre and Facebook Canada to help ease the financial strain for Canadian artists impacted by the closure of performance venues across Canada related to pandemic, and to lift the spirits of Canadians during the crisis. #CanadaPerforms and its relief fund will have directly helped professional performing artists and published authors through artists fees for their live performances and literary events. 

The $700,000+ Facebook-National Arts Centre Fund for Performing Artists was made possible through the generous contribution from #CanadaPerforms’ founding partner, Facebook Canada ($200,000), and also the financial support from Slaight Music ($100,000), RBC Foundation ($200,000) and SiriusXM Canada ($200,000), as well as the Bennett Family Foundation.

“#CanadaPerforms offered us some true support and hope, and we were able to pay this forward to the people tuning in. It was such a ‘fly by the seat of our pants’ performance, which surprisingly had an intimacy and realness we’ve never experienced in an actual venue. The performance was emotional and cathartic for us and reading through the comments after the show we saw how affected others were as well. We fully recognize that this was an uncertain time for everyone and some incredible bonding and connection occurred through the sharing of art. We were so grateful to get such immediate help from our industry peers at the NAC in a time that is crushing for the arts community, ” says Melissa McClelland of the Toronto duo Whitehorse, who performed with #CanadaPerforms.   


The National Arts Centre raised its curtains for the first time in 1969. A bilingual, multi-disciplinary home for Canada’s most creative artists, the NAC strives to be artistically adventurous in each of its programming streams — the NAC Orchestra, Dance, English Theatre, French Theatre, Indigenous Theatre, and Popular Music and Variety. The Centre’s national role is reflected in its motto: “Canada is our Stage.” The NAC collaborates with artists and arts organizations across the country, acts as a catalyst for performance; invests in ambitious new works by artists and arts organizations nation-wide; and nurtures the next generation of audiences and artists from across Canada. Situated on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe nation, the NAC is accessible and welcoming to all, and offers a variety of free programming and events.


- 30 -




Annabelle Cloutier

Executive Director, Communications and Public Affairs

National Arts Centre




Erin Taylor 

Facebook Canada



Nadia Kharyati

Communications Officer

National Arts Centre


Join our email list for the latest updates!